Firetower Challenge – Goodnow Mountain

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It’s no surprise that I’m always up for a challenge. So, why not add another one to my current list? In addition to hiking the 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, the Catskill 35 over 3500, there is the Adirondack Fire Tower Challenge, which is a list of all the mountains that currently have a firetower at the top. Since I have already hiked two of these mountains, Hadley Mountain and Hurricane Mountain, I decided to go for another.  I hiked Goodnow Mountain on Sunday with a few good friends.

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About a two hour drive from Albany, the trail to Goodnow is right down the road from the Adirondack Visitor Center on Route 28N. There was a giant white sign for the parking lot, which made it easy to spot!

There was a dusting of snow on the trail already, which I really enjoyed! I don’t know how but I’ve completely changed my mind the past year about winter weather. I love it. The hike was pleasant. It wasn’t too steep, and there were many things to look at, including an old barn and an interesting tree with roots growing around a boulder.

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An easy 1.9 mile climb to the top, we found the firetower and cabin! Of course to get the 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains we climbed to the top.

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November is an peaceful time to hike. The trails are quiet (we saw no one else on the hike–but the trail register showed a group had already come and gone that morning) and you can smell winter in the air.

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Goodnow Mountain Firetower
~4 mi RT
1,040′ Ascent
2,690′ Elevation
Total time including stops: 3 hours, 10 minutes

Copra Raw Coconut Water Review

Copra Coconut Water recently reached out to me to try some of their coconut water! By now, most of us are familiar with this beverage. Coconut water has been increasing in popularity these past few years, but Copra is trying to stand out from the crowd–it’s raw and all natural! This is new to me because I don’t normally buy the drink, so I wasn’t aware there was a raw version of it. What’s the difference between raw and regular coconut water, you may ask?

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The main difference is that Copra raw coconut water:

  • Is not heated or pasteurized. Normally pasteurization is used to kill/prevent bacteria growth and increase shelf-life of foods–they also claim that this destroys important vitamins and minerals in the drink.
  • Is pink in color due to antioxidant levels.
  • Uses High Pressure Processing to kill microorganisms and keep micro-nutrients intact, instead of pasteurization.
  • Coconut water comes directly from raw coconuts in Thailand.

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Nutritional Stats:

One bottle of Copra is 80 calories. The coconut water is high in potassium and  has no fat, so its definitely a better choice than sodas or fruit juices that are sweetened with sugar and contain empty calories.

One of the biggest claims of coconut water in general is that it’s “nature’s sport’s drink”–because it provides electrolytes. Copra boasts five – potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all in low levels except potassium as you can see from the nutrition label above. I’ll admit that when I first tried coconut water, one of the reasons was because of the electrolytes. But, now that I’m learning the science behind food (and that I need to research everything to back up health claims) I’ve found that some coconut water health claims seem to be a myth. Coconut water is highest in potassium and low in sodium. After intense exercise, we lose salt in our sweat (this is why after long bouts of exercise you may find a coating of grit on your skin–its salt!) so, your best bet would be to rehydrate with plain water (especially if your goal is to lose weight!), and if you sweat a lot, electrolyte or salt tablets (like Nuun) or a drink that contains sodium, like veggie juice.

All that aside, it doesn’t mean that drinking coconut water is bad! I enjoy like the taste of it, and I find it adds a tropical flavor to my favorite smoothies. I really enjoyed the smoothie I made with a bottle of Copra. I don’t use it for re-hydrating after exercise, but I do like to drink it as a treat on occasion. If I see some on sale at the store I will grab some for my smoothies, but at regular price it is just not in my budget. I found that Copra had a slightly different taste than some of the varieties that I’ve tried, which is most likely due to the fact that it is raw.

Tropical Protein Smoothie

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Ingredients

1 bottle of coconut water
1 cup of frozen mango chunks
3/4 cup of frozen cherries, blackberries and blueberries
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt (or 1 scoop of protein powder)

And blend away! It makes one refreshing, tropical smoothie!

Would I recommend Copra? My answer to someone looking to lose weight: no– stick with water and don’t drink your calories. To someone looking for a natural sports drink: no–there are better options out there for re-hydrating. But, if you can spare the extra expense (its $3.99 a bottle at most stores) and if you are looking to add flavor to smoothies and treat yourself to a tropical, all natural, tasty drink? Sure!

Now, the fun part. Copra is offering to give a lucky reader a week’s worth of raw coconut water to try! Enter here by leaving a comment on this post answering this question: how do you prefer to drink your coconut water?

Giveaway ends on Monday 11/24.

Disclaimer: Copra sent me some of their coconut water to try, free of charge. All opinions are my own.

Vroman’s Nose and Schoharie County

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Saturday afternoon my good friend Brendan and I went to Schoharie County to check out Vroman’s Nose, a short little hike in Middleburgh, NY.

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Part of the trail with the green blazes is actually the Long Path! The other part of the long path I’ve been on was during the Thacher Park 10K back in September.

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It was a nice little hike and took less than an hour.

Afterward, we went to the Carrot Barn for sandwiches and glazed carrot cookies (yum!), followed by a quick stop at the Fox Creek Covered Bridge.

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It was a nice short, half-day trip!

After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran the most scenic race I’ve ever run! The After the Leaves Have Fallen Half Marathon is held in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, just outside of New Paltz!

It started at 11:00am, which allowed ample time for me to drive down from Albany. The only downside is that it’s usually held on the same day as the Stockade-athon 15K, but this year I knew I would run this trail race instead. It boasted gorgeous views and carriage trails which, even thought I like the Stockade-athon, I’ll take over Schenectady any day. It was also only $15, which is a steal for a half marathon.

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Lake Minnewaska, right near where the starting line was.

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The view of the Catskills from the parking lot.

I got to the park earlier (around 9:30) even though it didn’t start until 11am. I just wanted to make sure I got a good parking spot and I thought I might get lost in the park. Thankfully I didn’t! After getting my bib and chatting with some blogger friends, Jessie, Kristin and Frank, the race started promptly at 11:00. Off we went to run 13.1 miles through the park!

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Kristin and I decided to run together. She had just run the NYC marathon last weekend and wanted to take it easy. I had no issues with that. Our goal was to have fun and enjoy the scenery. When the race started we were the last two runners. This was the first time we were both last in a race! We didn’t care, but eventually we passed a few other people. It went back and forth the whole race.

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I didn’t pay much attention to the elevation before the race, but I knew it was a trail run, so I expected some hills.

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I wasn’t really expecting such glorious views, though!! I knew it was scenic, but I didn’t think it would be this good.

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The lap around Lake Awosting was one of my favorite parts of the race.

I was also really glad that the trails were wide and not too technical.

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Kristin and I made sure to stop and take lots of photos.

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Am I really running a half marathon up here?

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The answer is yes. There is a water stop literally on top of a cliff! There were only three during the race, so I made sure to bring my own water.

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Gorgeous sun rays.

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Around every corner there was a view!

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I’m not sure what mile this is, but I was glad they got this photo. There were a few photographers out there, which was kind of awesome! There was also a guy on a bike with a GoPro recording some of the race. I can’t wait to see the footage!

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If these pictures don’t convince you to sign up for this race, then I don’t know what will!

Kristin and I passed about three people during the last few miles of the race. We didn’t come in last, but we were close! Neither one of us was concerned about it though–but it was nice to not be last. ;-)

We crossed the finish line in 2:42. It was my slowest half, but definitely one of my favorites. We just made sure to enjoy the scenery and the day outside in the park.

At the finish line, everyone got a pint glass. I’m cool with that!

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It was my 17th half marathon and my 3rd trail half marathon. Thanks to the Shawangunk Runners for putting on such an awesome race! And thank you to Kristin for being my running buddy for 13.1 miles–having her there to talk to made the race so much more fun!

Gear used: Lululemon running tights, Brooks MCM long sleeve tech shirt, New Balance 1260 Sneakers (road), Smartwool socks, Camelbak Mini Mule Hydration Pack, Salted Caramel Gu and Mixed Berry Clif Shot Bloks.

Marine Corps Marathon 2014 Race Recap

Sunday morning Meg and I got up at 5:45. Our plan was to leave the hotel by 6:30 and get on the Metro because both of our races began at 7:55am.

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The marathon start was located at the Pentagon metro stop and the 10K start was a bit further at the Smithsonian metro stop. We got on the crowded metro with a ton of other runners. The ride to my stop was about 15 minutes–there was so much excitement in the air! When we arrived at the Pentagon, I said my goodbyes to Meg and wished her luck on her race! Myself and the other marathon runners got off the metro and met a long line just to get out. I was expecting the crowd, but I was NOT expecting an almost 1 mile long walk to the actual starting line, complete with a security entrance. After waiting what seemed like forever, I finally got in, got to the porta-john line (which felt like it wasn’t moving at all!) and finally rushed to the starting line with about 5 minutes to spare.

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The flyover!

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The Paratrooper–he sailed in and then was going to run the marathon. Awesome!

The gun went off-I discarded my throwaway sweatshirt and we started walking, slowly! It was about 15 minutes until I could see the red arches. I was in disbelief. I was actually running the Marine Corps Marathon, along with almost 40,000 other runners. This is insane.

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As soon as we started running, I made sure to keep my pace lower, not to start out too fast. The hills in the beginning made sure of that! I wasn’t really expecting so many hills in the first few miles!

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I made the decision to wear my Camelbak hydration pack during the race, just to make sure I had water when I needed, especially when I needed to fuel. I brought three Gu packets, 1 honey stinger waffle, and margarita flavored shot blocks (the shot blocks were the only thing I didn’t eat during the race). I also had some  Gatorade on the course.

The first few miles were great. I felt really good around miles 6-12, and was really enjoying the race. I felt so proud to be running this amazing marathon, I even got choked up a few times passing the marines that were at every water station handing out water cups. So grateful!

I stayed on my target pace for the first 13 miles. I had a pace chart on my wrist and was eying it to make sure. Then I hit mile 13.1 where everything went downhill…

Megan was texting me to tell me she was at mile 17. I spent miles 15-17 making sure I didn’t miss her. I just kept running, and at this point we were near the National Mall, so we had some monuments to look at, and the crowds were amazing! Unfortunately my pace kept dropping. My legs were slowing down, and they were hurting, bad! Why on Earth were my legs starting to hurt so early in the race? I was dreading running the next 13 miles. This is not how I wanted my race to turn out.

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Finally I saw Megan. She was the burst of energy I needed to keep going. I remember telling her at mile 17 that my legs were hurting.

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I saw Meg again at mile 19, and that was great. But, I just kept thinking…how can I run 7 more miles? My legs were really letting me down. My mind just wanted to GO but my legs said no. My pace kept dropping. My legs and feet hurt, and so did my glutes. They were aching. I felt like I hadn’t even trained for this race. WHY?

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Instead of focusing on my legs I tried to focus on the scenery. The fact that I was running this amazing race and that I just need to enjoy it–because not everyone gets to do this!

At mile 20 I ripped my pace bracelet off and threw it, angry. No PR (or goal) for me today. I saw the alert on facebook when checking my phone during a walk break that my finish time was estimated at 5:14. A personal worst. I was texting my friend Meredith about how bad this was going–and she had nothing but encouraging words for me, which helped. (Thank you Meredith!)

I was feeling discouraged, and I wanted to just be done with this race. I walked some during miles 22-24. But then when I get mile 25 I realized I only had a little over a mile left. I told myself, “ENJOY IT, BECAUSE YOU ARE RUNNING THE MARINE CORPS MARATHON AND SOON IT WILL BE OVER!” I slowly jogged the last mile and then I saw the sign for mile 26, where five hours earlier I was standing at the start of the race. I was almost done. I ran up the hill at mile 26 (WHY? Why is there a hill?) and saw all the marines and the crowd, too.

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Megan said she saw me but I didn’t see her–I was just focusing on the finish line. Finally, I was done. An awesome and cute marine handed me my medal and said some nice words to me (although I can’t remember what they were, I just thanked him a billion times) which was followed by the line of marines shaking my hand. Eventually I came to the memorial, the end.

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I wandered around until I found the water (I ran out of my water around mile 20) and it was getting warm, I was thirsty! I walked through the line to get our snack box and then finally to Megan. It felt like a mile walk (it might have been..) where we immediately got in line for the metro because our hotel had a late checkout of 3:30, so we had no time to waste! So we took our after photos while in line for the metro!

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Third marathon, done.

Unfortunately, the race did not go how I wanted it to. But, with every race  comes a lesson. In the few days afterward, I felt this giant wave of disappointment in myself–I knew I could have done better–why did things go the way they did? Did I walk too much the day before? Did I not eat enough? Did I not drink enough? Were my shoes too old? Was my training not good enough? But I can ask questions like these until the cows come home–and I’ll never really know the answer. Not every race will be a PR, I know this. And there will be more races. But it’s easy to lose sight of one major thing–I ran a marathon–and finished it. Not everyone has the strength or ability do something like that. And I did it! And It’s amazing.

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